Georgetown University Hospital recently published an account of the successful treatment of a Clostridium difficile infection in a 92-year-old woman using fecal microbiota transplant, (“FMT”). The Fall 2013, publication of “MyGeorgetownMD” features an article by Norma Babington which describes how a nursing home resident experienced relief from the intractable diarrhea caused by the C. diff. bacterium within a single day. The article cites a 90% success rate for FMT treatment of C. diff. Additionally, the article quotes MedStar Georgetown gastroenterologist Mark Mattar as saying that the FDA is collaborating with MedStar Georgetown on the use of FMT as a treatment for C. diff., and that he’s also exploring the use of C. diff., as a possible treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. (Dr. Mattar’s profile on MedStar Georgetown University Hospital’s website states that he is interested in “therapeutics relating to IBD, and Fecal Microbiota Transplantation for C. difficile infection.”)
This is just the latest in a series of successful pediatric and adult treatment outcomes using fecal transplantation. Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University published a case study of the successful treatment of C. diff. in a 2-year-old girl using this protocol: http://www.healio.com/pediatrics/gastrointestinal-conditions/news/online… In Ohio, the Cleveland Clinic and two other hospitals are using the technique with success: http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2013/07/three_ohio_hospitals_no….
The fact that the FDA is supportive of clinical work which is demonstrating the efficacy of fecal transplantation is good news for parents and clinicians who advocate biomedical interventions for autism spectrum disorders. And the use of this technique by “mainstream” institutions can only help to attract the research funding needed to further validate this treatment protocol.
Fecal transplantation has long been recognized as important treatment tool for gut disorders by well regarded biomedical ASD intervention practitioners such as Dr. Anju Usman, and Dr. Jeffrey Bradstreet. (Dr. Bradstreet recently instructed physicians on this treatment option at the annual conference of the Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs this past spring.) However, other progressive biomedical practitioners such as Dr. Brian Udell still consider fecal transplantation to be an “extreme” treatment which lacks sufficient clinical research to confirm its efficacy. Hopefully, the promising results of the “small” trials of this treatment for IBD which Dr. Mattar cites in this article, combined with his successful experience with FMT as a treatment for C. diff., will raise the level of mainstream awareness of this treatment methodology and will result in greater attention among mainstream research and higher levels of adoption as a preferred treatment (when medically warranted) among biomedical ASD intervention practitioners.